Putting off Procrastination




What is the Problem?


Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. Putting off work is a common past-time of students and professionals alike, with few being able to say they have never avoiding doing a certain task. The American Psychological Association claims that 80% to 95% of college students in particular admitted to procrastinating on their schoolwork (Karr). The cause of this staggering statistic: “fear of failure” (Karr). Students are not the only culprits. 95% of adults admitted to putting off work, according to the author of The Procrastination Equation, Piers Steel. There are a variety of systemic causes related specifically to workplace procrastination, including not feeling engaged in the workplace, to which 30% of workers worldwide relate, as well as not liking their job, to which 48% of workers worldwide relate (Vaughn-Furlow). These rates of employee disengagement are often caused by perceived job insecurity, lack of reward or incentive for hard work, lack of challenging tasks, and poor leadership from managers and supervisors (Vaughn-Furlow).


These factors seem to be primarily external, but we also experience internal drivers to procrastinate. We can enable ourselves to put off that important or urgent task because we are bored, we feel inconvenienced by the task, we feel stressed or overwhelmed when trying to complete the task due to it being difficult or unpleasant, or we experience a lack of self-discipline because we find the task to not be intrinsically rewarding (Bailey). These factors may apply more to students, but certainly are felt by many graduates. Whatever the cause may be, habitual procrastination inhibits productivity and can end up wasting our time, as well as that of our coworkers and classmates.




Do I Procrastinate?

While most people have purposefully delayed their work at some point in their lives, it is always helpful to gauge our personal tendency towards procrastination. What may come to mind when thinking about procrastinating behaviors are common activities, such as scrolling through Instagram or watching one YouTube video after another. These are certainly activities that can help us endlessly put off work, but there are some latent behaviors that contribute more to chronic procrastination. Some examples would be (Vaughn-Furlow):


Making unrealistic or unattainable plans

Promising more than what is realistic

Not planning at all for work, events, activities, etc.

Not following through with promises

Responding slowly to a demand or request on purpose

Putting work off because we believe we can work better under pressure*


*The assumption behind this last behavior is often untrue or exaggerated